Book Review
Kohima 1944
Kohima 1944 - The Battle that Saved India
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by: Randy L Harvey [ HARV ]


From March through June, 1944, the Battle of Kohima, India was fought by Japanese and British troops, as well as colonial forces from India, including Naga natives. The battle was fought in the Imphal region of India, which the Japanese forces wanted to capture because it was an important British supply base. The Japanese planned to use Kohima as part of their Operation U-Go intended to provoke an uprising among Indians during a “drive to Delhi.”

Kohima Ridge outside the city was an important target as it held the strategic position commanding the only road with which the British could send reinforcements and supplies to Imphal from the railhead at Manipur. If Kohima would have been captured and held, it would have been a great advantage to the Japanese in their efforts to drive the British out of India.

Osprey Publications Ltd has released Kohima 1944 - The battle that saved India as Number 229 in their “Campaign” series. It is a paperback book with 96 pages; included with the text are color and black & white photographs, color illustrations, color maps and detailed captions examining the before, during and after details of the battle.

The contents

- The origins of the campaign
- Chronology
- Opposing commanders
- Opposing forces
- Opposing plans
- The Japanese invasion
- The siege of Kohima
- The battle of Kohima
- Aftermath
- The battlefield today
- Further reading
- Index

The review

The text is well-written and extremely detailed with none of the usual spelling or grammar errors one finds in many hobby books. Author Robert Lyman covers all of the details of the battle very well, and it’s obvious he has gone to great lengths to research the battle that covers all aspects of the battle. Anyone interested in World War Two battles in the Pacific Theater, or the Allied and Axis forces fighting there will find this book very informative and interesting.

The photographs
There are color and black & white photographs throughout the book, and all are nice and clear with a few exceptions. Some of the older period black & white photographs have a blurry look to them, and some appear to be a little too dark. I have seen several photographs from WWII that have this look to them, so maybe that was just typical for the period. I do know that a number of WW II photos are actually stills taken from newsreel footage, so that could part of the reason as well. With that said, the overall quality of the photographs is of no fault of the author, and does not take anything away from the book. The color photographs included are fewer, with two of them being period photographs of the region and of the indigenous Naga people.

Two of my favorite photos are:

Page 38 – An American-made Jeep driving over a ravine on a wire (mesh) suspension bridge. The bridge doesn’t look very sturdy, and I imagine it would have taken a strong-willed person to complete that feat.

Page 43 – A pack mule train. The mules have mosquito netting over their eyes. For research information, I find photographs such as this one interesting due to the amount of detail shown.

I have provided scans of both of these photographs.

The color illustrations
The illustrations by Peter Dennis are well-done and cover the battle thoroughly. They include well-detailed ground and aerial action scenes, along with excellent maps.

The captions:
The captions are interesting, and very detailed, explaining the accompanying photographs and illustrations so as to make them easy to understand.


All in all, I am very impressed with the book. It details all of the phases of the Allied and Axis participation in the Kohima battle, and I would have no hesitation to add other Osprey titles to my personal library, nor would I hesitate to recommend this book to others.

Note: The pictures that I have provided look blurry and the captions are hard-to-read. This is due to my scanner, and is not how they appear in the book. Please don’t be misled by my examples.
Highs: Well-written and detailed text/captions. Nice photographs & artwork.
Lows: Some of the older period black & white photographs have a blurry look to them, and some appear to be too dark.
Verdict: This is a very nice reference book that is well-researched, well-written, and contains many interesting photographs and detailed captions. It will make a nice addition to anyone’s personal library, and will also benefit the military enthusiast.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: Other
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 978-1-84603-939-3
  Suggested Retail: $19.95 US/£14.99 UK
  PUBLISHED: Feb 07, 2011
  NATIONALITY: India / भारत

Our Thanks to Osprey Publishing!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Randy L Harvey (HARV)

I have been in the modeling hobby off and on since my youth. I build mostly 1/35 scale. However I work in other scales for aircraft, ships and the occasional civilian car kit. I also kit bash and scratch-build when the mood strikes. I mainly model WWI and WWII figures, armor, vehic...

Copyright ©2021 text by Randy L Harvey [ HARV ]. All rights reserved.


Thanks for the review Bill, looks lik an interesting read. Al
FEB 07, 2011 - 04:13 AM
Actually, it's Randy Harvey's review, Al. But it's good to see exclusively British topics finding the attention of publishers. And no Nazis anywhere in sight! LOL
FEB 08, 2011 - 03:29 AM
Thank you Alan. Randy
JUL 23, 2011 - 06:12 AM
I have this volume and the new one from Osprey on Marshall Bill Slim. A much unsung battle and the Commonwealth troops who fought it should have no doubt about this fight , They were under hideous conditions facing a merciless enemy and they triumphed.
JUL 23, 2011 - 06:22 AM
Its great to see some of the less prominent battles getting some attention from companies now. And the Osprey books are always excellent value. Thanks for the review Randy! Anirudh
JUL 23, 2011 - 06:55 AM
Thank you Dave and Anirudh. After doing this review I learned a lot about this battle. I am glad that Osprey publishes these books about individual campaigns and battles. They prove to be a great resource and a wealth of knowledge. I am glad my review was helpful. Thanks again, Randy
JUL 24, 2011 - 03:58 AM

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